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The Wall Street Journal reports that 55 independent bottlers have agreed to drop a lawsuit against the Coca-Cola Co. that originally was filed as a protest of the company’s decision to ship its Powerade sports drink to Wal-Mart’s warehouses, as opposed to directly to stores. Under the new agreement, Coke and the bottlers will test various new systems to bring products to customers who require special services.

As the Journal writes, “The agreement frees the entities up to more aggressively expand the Atlanta beverage giant's lineup of new age drinks to narrow a gap with rival PepsiCo Inc. The company and its bottlers will consider shipping products directly to= retailers' warehouses, as well as other ideas. In turn, the bottlers will be compensated for products delivered in their regions through other forms of distribution, industry executives said, through royalties or some other form of profit-sharing.”

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